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The amount of respect you have for others is in direct proportion to how much respect you have for yourself. Respect everyone! – An interview with Hannah Biggs

Hannah is an experienced agency and in-house technical recruiter, she’s pretty cool too! She is also currently working through Free Code Camp, learning HTML, CSS & JavaScript and taking a product management course in September – superwoman! She is dedicated and passionate to represent women within tech and has had huge success already with some brilliant female hires within OVO! I wanted to speak to Hannah both about the industry and if being a female helps when hiring female talent.

OVO are hosting Bristol Girl Geek Dinners on the 20th June – Please click here for tickets.

Hannah is also a volunteer at Bristol’s first Algorave for more info and tickets please see Eventbrite

You are also a woman in tech albeit in a slightly different way being tech recruitment. Have you ever had a time where a male dominated environment has been intimidating?

Of course! When I first started out in tech recruitment I was 22 years old and 5 ft 2. When you are walking into a room which is made up of only men at a senior level (who are also incredibly smart and towering over you), you feel very aware of how seriously you will be taken as a young woman. I worked extremely hard to understand the ins and outs of tech, including learning how to code myself, in order to prove myself as a good recruiter.

How do you attract Women to apply-join OVO?

We try and make our adverts as gender neutral as possible, and stress that we believe the key to a brilliant, progressive workforce is having teams made up of people from all backgrounds, genders & ethnicity. We also hold meetups (we have our next Women in Tech meetup on the 20th June) and try to be as active as possible in the amazing Women in Tech community in the South West & London.

With so many companies looking to hire female talent. How do you go about retaining your female staff?

We create a very open and collaborative environment in which women are given the opportunities to achieve their career goals. We are firm believers of giving our employees the tools to progress into new opportunities in the business and will always look internally first for any new roles. If we have someone who is an QA Engineer and they want to get into Software Engineering, we will try our best to make that happen!

What challenges have you faced in recruiting into Bristol?

Competition is fierce in Bristol, which is a challenge but also a blessing. We now have so many great tech companies in Bristol that it’s attracting more talent here from London and other areas of the UK & Europe.

What are the coolest things OVO are working on at the moment?

We are working on a brilliant Energy Platform which our engineering teams are building from scratch. We have recently launched our Vehicle-to-Grid Charger which works by pumping Electric Vehicle battery power back into the grid at peak times. We also have our Smart Storage Heaters and more recently our Home Energy Storage which is essentially a battery for your home! We focus on our customers and on clean, green energy so most of what we work on revolves around those two things.

Are you hiring at the moment?

Yes! We are hiring Software Engineers across Bristol & London (we aren’t fussy on the current tech, as long as they have an interest in Functional Programming). We are also hiring for Software Engineering Managers across Bristol & London (this could be a great step up for someone currently in a Team Lead role). We also have many other roles across other areas of the business including Product & UI/UX.

What would your advice be to women who are looking to get back into the industry?

Attend meetups and make the most of the great, supportive community we have here in Bristol. Take online courses and read up on the latest tech. Also get in touch directly with businesses about coming into the office and working alongside some of the teams to get yourself back into the swing of things again.

Do you think being a female recruiter helps with hiring female talent?

Honestly, I do think it helps. I think women trust women and the support is definitely there. I believe that as a female recruiter, I resonate more with what’s important to women as I have either been through it or will go through it (having children etc).

What advice would you give to recruitment consultants both agency and inhouse when it comes to hiring women into technical positions?

Please do not underestimate technical women – they are awesome. If you are worried about them not fitting into teams because they are male dominated, please remember they can bring a whole new dynamic, offering a different aspect and view on things which is always a good thing! (Also don’t ask a woman ‘is she planning on being pregnant anytime soon” during an interview – true story!)

What do OVO do to encourage young girls into tech?

We do kids coding club which is brilliant. We go into schools and encourage young girls as much as possible that this is very much a female industry and not just for boys!

 

If you have any questions or want to talk to Hannah about recruitment, OVO or Women in Tech please email – hannah.biggs@ovoenergy.com

Thanks Hannah

#yourock #womenrock

 

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